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Rahul promises to help Kerala`s rubber growers (29-05-2015)

 

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala`s beleaguered rubber growers, who are reeling under rock-bottom prices for rubber latex, found a new politician this week to take up their cause: All India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi.   

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala`s beleaguered rubber growers, who are reeling under rock-bottom prices for rubber latex, found a new politician this week to take up their cause: All India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul is presently on a tour of Kerala as part of a campaign that his party hopes will bring him back into the limelight, after his mysterious decision to take a long break to an undisclosed destination.

Congress supporters feel the natural rubber crisis has provided the Congress leader a worthy cause to take up.

Rahul promised rubber growers that he would take up their cause at the national level and hold rallies to highlight their plight.

`We will highlight the crisis in the rubber growing sector, with the cooperation of Opposition parties. Congress will take the initiative for this,` he said in Aluva.

He said he would also consider leading a rally in Kerala to highlight the crisis plaguing the natural rubber plantation sector. Some of those who participated in the deliberations said the rubber price crisis was a national issue, considering that across the country there were 47 parliamentary constituencies where the price crash in rubber was an issue.

Kerala is the largest producer of natural rubber latex in India, but in recent years rubber plantations have come up in many other states including some north-eastern states like Tripura.

The crash in price of rubber from roughly Rs200 (Dh11) per kg two years ago to just over Rs100 per kg now, has dealt a severe blow to the economies of multiple districts in Kerala where natural rubber is the backbone of the local economy.

Two suicides have recently been reported from the rubber belt in the state. In March, a rubber grower in the northern Kannur district, Krishnankutty Nair committed suicide after being burdened by debt, and a few days ago, a rubber tapper from Thodupuzha, identified as Gangadharan, took his life.

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(source in Eximbank)
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